Customer Reviews: Angel: Season 5 (Slim Packaging)
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Showing 1-10 of 19 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on September 25, 2015
Really!, it's over? A disjointed season, this one contained enough demon blood and decapitations to maintain the its standard of violence. The story line falls complete apart. It is no wonder that this was the last season because there is not enough emotional drama to create even a spark of intrigue. There was so much possibility with the addition of a new character but alas, super disappointing.
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on June 2, 2013
I was so disapointed it the way Angel was ended It was like watching a clif hanger with no end. there was no closure. What happened to them? You really need to do a movie and have a proper ending for the show.
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VINE VOICEon May 18, 2012
No Spoilers.

Angel as a series has had its ups and downs. It was very promising in the beginning, and it had some fine ideas, though some of these ideas didn't quite stretch through an entire season.

This fifth season did not seem to have much of a unifying story arc for the season as a whole, aside from winding down the series. Instead, it had a series of smaller arcs that happened around the same time. Yes, there's the vague overlord company Wolfram and Hart who we never really meet except through their various emissaries, and a new omni-powerful underground group that nobody can beat, not even our team, except, well, no spoilers. And a new ancient god rising to take over the world, again, but a different one.

Angel himself seemed bored, most definitely going through the motions. Spike was at his Spikiest, which was generally fun though a bit predictable. They fought like an old couple. The least predictable was Fred, who got a total makeover in one story arc. For the fans, they managed to parade in most of the key characters involved in the past, even sort of Buffy, though not the actual actress herself, to make appearances and sometimes have a role in the story.

I sat through it to see how they would work it all out. In the end, it was not all that compelling. It had its moments and some genuinely good episodes, especially mid-season, which is why I gave it three stars ("It's ok"), but there was some dreck, too. Whedon was not engaged, if indeed he was involved at all. I suspect he had moved on to other projects and perhaps threw out some general suggestions from afar.
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on July 2, 2014
Disappointing end to the series. The show writers seemed to have struggled with the team's move to Wolfram & Hart and what resulted was a bunch of one-off episodes with no unifying theme. An intriguing plot begins in the final episodes of the series, led by exceptional acting on the part of Amy Ackers, but is never really brought to fruition (perhaps partly to blame may be the show's cancellation.) While the final season is in no way a waste of time, don't expect the quality of Buffy or even the previous season of Angel.
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on June 8, 2008
I have watched Buffy and Angel religiously. I missed most of the last season of angel while it was on TV due to a job that woefully scheduled me that night, and TiVo was not yet mainstream. So when I saw this I was super excited to finally watch the end of this amazing show. After season 4, I was a little disappointed. I hated seeing Cordy evil. But season 5 was even worse. It did have some uplifting moments. The halloween party where gunn peed everywhere and Lorne's alterego thing tried to kill everyone was great. The last episode was awesome. The puppet episode was hilarious. But overall I thought it was whinny. Oh poor us angel people trying to take over an evil company and we can't seem to win. If they had more action and less whining about toeing the moral line it would have been a much better season. It did get better after Cordy appeared through till the end. But overall not Joss' best work. You have to watch it cause its the end. But be prepared to force yourself. Its not as easy to sit down and watch all the way through as the other ones.
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on October 2, 2007
All right, I may have to duck behind something and hide because Whedon fans don't like it when their shows are critisized but here goes anyway:

Yes, Angel season 5 is by a wide-margin my least favorite season of the series. Just thought I'd get the most negative statement of the review out of the way.

At the end of Angel season 4, Cordelia had been left in a coma. Angel had made a deal with Wolfram & Hart to take over their Los Angeles branch provided his son Connor was given new memories and a happy home that he himself could never provide. Season 5 finds the Fang Gang uneasy in their new offices. As they are beginning to adjust, Spike appears out of nowhere in ghost-like form to haunt and annoy Angel.

Most of the people I've heard say they dislike Angel season 5 tend to think Spike is the problem with this season. That may be true for some fans who were never big Buffy viewers, but the addition didn't bother me. I was always a bigger Buffy fan than an Angel fan and Spike was a big part of that show. Nor was it the lack of Cordelia that irked me. I'd loved her in season one and two but the whole Angel loves Cordelia storyline, followed by the evil Cordy story had kind of killed the character for me.

I think for me the show was just starting to run out of steam. There are certainly many people who will disagree with that statement, but hear me out at least. I think the reason people think the show could have carried on for a few more years is because the final storyline is a particularly good one and the last episode is great (definitely a lot better than Buffy's). But all of the really good things about this season came after it was cancelled and things had to be wrapped up. The first half of this season is (for the most part) quite mediocre. Up until season 5, Angel had only had one really bad episode in my opinion (season one's "She"), although many of the individual Cordelia/Connor scenes in season 4 had been a little hard to swallow. In early season 5, I sat through three episodes in a row that were all pretty bad ("Hellbound", which I struggled to stay awake during, "Life of the Party" which is basically a less funny remake of Buffy's "Something Blue", and "Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco" which spent a lot of time concentrating on an unimportant/uninteresting character). To be fair, those were followed by "Lineage" which was fantastic. For much of the first half of season 5, the rest of the Fang Gang aren't given much to do, but for this one episode, Angel actually felt like Angel again. "Soul Purpose" was also a lackluster episode, though not to the same extent. Tom Lenk's guest appearence in "Damages" was somewhat awkward. I liked Andrew on Buffy, but that's one character that really just didn't seem to fit the tone on Angel.

Now that we're through with the unpleasant complaining, let's get to the good part of Angel season 5. As the show began to build up to the end, Joss Whedon got back to business. Fred is killed off in a heartbreaking episode, to be inhabited by the powerful Illyria. Wes is sent back to his dark place, and is in no mood to be forgiving when he discovers Gunn had a role in Fred's demise. Meanwhile, Angel seems to be going to a darker and darker place.

Anyway, I must say that I do like this series and parts of this season. I just feel that Angel peaked in season 2 and never got to be that good again. I was upset like everyone else when it got cancelled, but that seems to have been a blessing in disguise. It allowed Joss to really move things along in the latter half of season 5 and let the show end on a high note. People like to say it could have gone on several more seasons, but I feel like it would have done so in a diminished capacity. Buffy season 5 was (in my opinion) far stronger than Angel season 5 and Buffy definitely went downhill by staying on the air for two more seasons (although it was never terrible). Overall, I think five seasons is a pretty good run. Certainly the loss of Firefly is a greater tragedy. I would recommend this set to fans of the series, although I would warn them that the rest of the series is quite a bit better.
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on July 17, 2006
This long review contains numerous spoilers.

Angel's fifth and final year concludes with a whimper rather than a bang. It isn't an atrocious season, and it includes some very fine isolated moments, but all in all it isn't something the viewer would be able to productively re-watch, even years from now.

As season five opens, Angel Investigations has been given the keys to the Los Angeles branch of its nemesis organization, evil multidimensional law firm Wolfram & Hart. W&H provides them with Eve (Sarah Thompson), a liaison to W&H's demonic "senior partners". Eve is not a very successful character and is replaced midseason by Firefly alum Adam Baldwin as Marcus Hamilton. Baldwin is a great talent and does a good job in the role, though Hamilton is not nearly as interesting a character as Jayne, the mercenary portrayed by Baldwin on Firefly. One good "addition by subtraction" move in season five is the departure of the insufferably bratty Connor. He was never interesting or likeable.

Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia is no longer part of the regular cast (she does return for one episode). Spike moves from Buffy to Angel following the final Buffy apocalypse. Harmony is added as a semi-regular, in a not very credible role as Angel's assistant. Season five suffers from a dearth of female characters following the exit of Cordelia. The many male characters naturally cluster around Fred, the only remaining female lead. Even Spike seems to develop a bit of a thing for her.

Spike is probably the most successful character in the entire Angel / Buffyverse. Unfortunately, his move to Angel doesn't really work too well. It's impossible for James Marsters as Spike to be anything but entertaining, but he is given really poor material to work with on Angel. Spike spends the first third of the season spinning his wheels uselessly as a ghost. He doesn't really fit in in a law firm (nor do most of the other regulars, a major flaw in the move to W&H). But worst of all, he's been mellowed, even somewhat neutered by achieving a soul and world-saving hero status. He is no longer the gloriously unpredictably violent Spike of his golden years on Buffy. Instead he's merely an annoying gadfly to Angel. Their juvenile sibling bickering detracts from both characters. And Spike is now even a bit of a kiss-up. He actually tries to give Angel's "Scoobies" (including himself) the plucky nickname of "Angel's Avengers."

The one exception to the above is the strong eighth episode, Destiny, in which Spike and Angel have an epic struggle - which Spike actually wins, his first real victory over Angel. Unfortunately, this promising potential for conflict is never again exploited and Spike becomes more and more of a wisecracking sidekick as the season wears on. Spike needs to be Spike, not a Xander Harris clone!

The title character himself was never less compelling than in this season. There is nothing comparable in season five to the previous dramas of his transformations into Angelus, his obsession with Darla, or his agony over losing his son. There is a brief attempt toward the end of season five at making viewers think that Angel may have "sold out" to W&H, but it is never believable. It seems very obvious that he is merely playing a part.

What made Angel (and Buffy) work were the ways in which the larger struggle made itself felt on the individual human / vampire level. For Angel himself, season five offers only a struggle so huge as to be emotionally insignificant. The titanic forces arrayed against him can squash him like a bug, but what they largely can't do is make him hurt the way he has been hurt before.

The same flaw is present in the whole season, with the exception of the affecting midseason death of Fred and her replacement by Ilyria. Amy Acker does a great job in both roles. The whole Ilyria storyline never really gets off the ground and probably wouldn't have been introduced if the writers had known they'd only have half a dozen episodes left in the series when they brought her in, but even in her limited appearances we receive hints of how intriguing she and Wesley could have been together.

But it is Alexis Denisof as Wesley who is the emotional core of season five. In the prior two seasons, the Wesley character had already eclipsed Angel and Gunn in interest. He is the true conflicted brooding hero of the final three seasons of Angel. Season five provides Wesley with some of his finest moments. He has probably the best death scene of anyone in the whole mythology, and his performance during Fred's death is equally strong. But he does not only shine in death. He has a number of great though understated moments: his reaction to the revelation that Gunn had had an indirect hand in Fred's death, his torture of a captured foe, and best of all to me, his casually deliberate shooting in the leg of a snotty W&H employee who thinks the firm is spending too much time trying to save Fred.

Although the true compulsion of this season's Wesley is not his "badness" but his sadness. It's impossible not to empathize with what his character is put through. His conflicted feelings regarding Ilyria are especially convincing. He hates her because she killed Fred, yet loves those traces of Fred which she retains. He is simultaneously drawn by and repelled by her physical form. As Angel remarks, it's all very weird - yet credible and sad.

The one episode in which I largely wasn't very impressed by Wesley was one that seems to be popular with other viewers: the clichéd story in which he stands up to his father and proves himself to be a man. I had thought by then that Wesley was already far beyond the insecure young watcher of his Buffy appearances. The fact that the whole supposed father-son confrontation turns out to be a total gyp only makes it cheesier.

Gunn has little to offer this season. His one good story is the deal he makes with the devil (W&H) to stuff his head full of legal knowledge in exchange for...what? The price ends up being higher than anyone would have guessed. But his atonement for his mistake happens a little too quickly, though undoubtedly painfully. Lorne is even more lost in the law firm milieu. Having finally made Andy Hallett's character a credited regular, the writers had apparently run out of ways for his character to develop.

The return of Christian Kane as Lindsey McDonald is supposed to be a dramatic high point. But it falls flat. Lindsey was never an effective nemesis of Angel's. He wasn't even at Lilah Morgan's level. He was just an undersized lightweight whom Angel easily dispatched in his first go-round. Pairing Lindsey with Eve doesn't create suspense but boredom.

The move to the law firm doesn't really work for me. Presumably it's supposed to heighten the tension as we see our heroes making moral compromises with evil. But what happens for me at any rate is that familiarity with W&H breeds contempt rather than fear. Once it's our main backdrop, W&H seems a lot less menacing than it had before. With the once-mysterious white room, for instance, now just another set for Gunn to drop in on casually, the law firm is just another place not all that fundamentally different than the hotel.

Additionally, I agree with the reviewer who pointed out that the special glass in the W&H building which allows Angel and Spike to safely bask in the sunlight kind of undercuts the angst of their whole vampiric existence.

For season five, the WB network requested fewer long story arcs and more stand-alone episodes. For some reason, Angel's producers took this as encouragement to just throw together random kitschy episodes about muppets, Mexican wrestling, werewolves, Nazi submarines, and anything else that struck their fancy. What does any of that have to do with a vampire with a soul trying to atone for a century of depravity? Not a whole heck of a lot. Stand-alone should simply have meant distinct from each other, not necessarily distinct from the actual set-up of the series.

Dru and Darla appear in several flashbacks. None of the Buffy regulars appear, though they are all mentioned once or twice when minor Buffy character Andrew Wells (Tom Lenk) makes two guest appearances. Andrew is mildly entertaining, though he's more of a straight man here than he had been in Buffy season seven. He fills Buffy viewers in a bit about the post-Sunnydale doings of that show's characters (though not very sensibly; why would carpenter/contractor Xander be in Africa? Why is Willow "based" in South America, and why would Dawn be going to school in Rome? I think they just wanted to make sure we understood none of those characters were likely to show up in L.A.) One of the low points of Angel season five is the third-to-last episode, The Girl in Question, in which Angel and Spike jet to Rome in pursuit of Buffy. Without an appearance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, you just can't have a Buffy episode. Re-playing taped dialogue from Buffy's high school days and using an actress with blonde hair covering her entire face doesn't really cut it. And Angel and Spike were never more pathetic.

The Nazi submarine episode IMO was lame and took severe liberties with what we're supposed to know about Angel's history. Also, the dynamic between Spike and Angel in 1943 was completely wrong. As we know from season two of Buffy, the ensouled Angel is just an object of contempt to other vampires, especially his former friends such as Spike who remember how bad the true Angelus was. The episode did offer for Buffy fans a look into the origins of the Demon Research Initiative which was featured in season four of that show.

Many reviewers seem to have loved the episode where Angel was turned into a muppet. I hated it and thought that it was a shark-jumping moment if ever there was one. Sure, the series was a supernatural fantasy, but within that world, there were supposed to be rules, just different rules than the real world has. Classically, Angel had made a point of not insulting its viewers with cartoonish stuff like this. Let's face it: if a person can be turned into a muppet, then nothing is impossible, and there's no longer any reason to worry about any of the various apocalyptic events on the show. After all, maybe a pixy will come along and set everything right - why not?

Besides that, the episode is just bad. Its supposed attraction is that it pokes fun at the pompously brooding Angel. But for me, the show had already long since mined that humor potential, many times over. Remember Angel warbling Barry Manilow songs in Lorne's café - repeatedly? There had already been dozens of moments like this one in the first four seasons of Angel. By season five he no longer has any remaining dark persona to be effectively ridiculed.

There has been a lot of criticism or defense of the inconclusive ending of the series. Actually, I don't have a problem with that final scene. I think the problem was what preceded it, when IMO too many loose ends were too neatly tied up: Connor, Lindsey, Lorne, Cordelia, and of course Wesley. To me, it was all too pat. IMO they could have just left Connor out of things entirely, for instance, and left Cordelia in her coma. As the final scene acknowledges, sometimes things don't have endings, just stopping points.

Angel spent four years trying to establish itself as an entity in its own right and not just a Buffy spin-off. It was largely successful. However, it was definitely set in the Buffyverse, and season five should have taken some account of the monumental events that occurred in that series' finale. Yes, a small army of Slayers showed up with Andrew for the task of reclaiming a rogue Slayer, but we never hear anything about how the sudden empowerments of hundreds, even thousands of Slayers all over the world is affecting the larger battle. The impression we had been given was that Buffy's power had been magnified 1000-fold. But to judge by effects, it must instead just have been diluted. Neither W&H's senior partners, nor the "Circle of the Black Thorn" seem to have been discommoded in the slightest by the sudden appearance of a multitude of new Slayers. So much for Willow's great accomplishment.

At its best, Angel offered some of the best characterization of any show on television. Season five finds it not at its best, and with only Wesley, Fred, and Ilyria providing true human interest, it suffers by comparison to season two, for instance. I also agree that David Boreanaz had not aged well and was carrying more than a few extra pounds. This would be irrelevant on any other show, as most characters do age just as actors do, but vampires are of course the exception. I appreciate season five mainly for Acker's and Denisof's great performances. IMO, the writing was never weaker than in this final year.
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on November 7, 2014
I would have rated this as 5 if there was an ending to the last episode. Last episode left the viewers to make their own conclusion as to what happened. Not happy with the way the producers left everything hanging.
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on August 1, 2015
Some of the episodes in this season were better than the last season but I felt that this could have been done so much better. As the final season of the show, there should have been a larger part for the plot. Most everything was taken care of in the last episode and it felt far too rushed. They needed to fill things out in the other episodes better instead of doing just a bunch of random stories that didn't really move the plot. The worst by far had to be the puppet episode. What the hell was that? It was not funny and really should never have been done in the first place. Spike was always one of my favorite characters in Buffy but I dont' know if I liked that they brought him back in here so much. While I didn't care for his ending in the final episode of Buffy so much, but I felt that his story should have been finished. Overall it was an okay season. I didn't care for the end so much though and I think I enjoyed season 1 and 2 a lot better than these last 3 seasons of the series.
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on January 24, 2016
Season five becomes so boring to watch, if you don't believe me angel and spike gets along now.
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